Eight arrested for selling products that contain illegal cannabis extract
Police on Tuesday arrested eight people for selling cannabidiol (CBD) products that contained a banned cannabis chemical extract -- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The substance THC is regulated by the drug conventions of the United Nations, and selling products containing any concentration level of THC in Hong Kong is illegal.
CBD on the other hand is not regulated by Hong Kong's Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. However, since CBD is generally extracted from cannabis, CBD products may contain THC. Police therefore mounted an operation in November targeting products that contained THC.
Between November 18 and 25, officers from police's Narcotics Bureau raided 23 premises including restaurants, cafes, tobacco shops and sex toy shops in the city. They seized 50 products containing CBD, such as beer, chocolate, cakes, e-cigarette, skincare products and supplements for examinations to see if any THC was detected in these products.
Police added the products were mostly imported from the United States and Canada.
After examinations, THC was detected in five of the products, including oil and a bag of coffee powder which came with a label that stated the quantity of the substance. Sixteen products passed the tests and the results for the other 29 products are pending.
Police then arrested six men and two women aged 19 to 41 in Tsuen Wan, Shatin, Tai Po, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Causeway Bay, Kwun Tong and Mong Kok on Tuesday. They were reportedly the operators and staff members of the shops that sell the five illegal products. They were arrested for trafficking a dangerous drug.
Officers continued that around 1,500 products containing extracts of cannabis have been confiscated so far, and the price of each product ranges between a few hundreds to a few thousands of Hong Kong dollars.
They added the operation is still continuing and more arrests may be made. They said they will also share information with Customs after the further examination results are released, in order to stop illegal products from entering the city.